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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 June, 2004, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Opera rocks Glastonbury's finale
Storm clouds gathered as the performance went on
The English National Opera brought high culture to Glastonbury on its final day with a performance on its main stage.

The lunchtime rendition of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries came ahead of performances by rock band Muse, R&B hero James Brown and singer Morrissey.

Police said crime was "considerably lower" at the event near Pilton, Somerset, with 242 incidents reported by 1600 BST on Sunday.

This compares with 404 at the same stage during 2003's festival.

Just two robberies have been reported to Avon and Somerset police, while thefts from tents had been cut by half.

A man who died at the festival has been named by police as 24-year-old Neil Clinning, from Cleveleys, Lancashire.

Although his death is not being treated as suspicious, police say it is believed to be drug-related.

Two Swindon women, aged 29 and 30, who were arrested in connection with the incident have been given police bail.

Morning sunshine gave way to showers on the festival's final day, with the ground staying muddy after the downpours which marked Saturday at the Worthy Farm site.

Conditions remained changeable during the day, with sunshine returning for the start of Supergrass' Pyramid Stage set at 1930 BST - but the showers returned 20 minutes later.

'Special' opera

The English National Opera requested its slot on the Pyramid Stage to reach a new audience not usually be interested in opera.

Some 91 musicians and 11 soloists performed The Ride of The Valkyries, which was made famous by the film Apocalypse Now.

Glastonbury opera
The opera company wanted to reach a new audience with its performance
Festival founder Michael Eavis said he was no opera buff but had come round to the idea after being persuaded by daughter Emily.

The performance - played out under gathering storm clouds - attracted thousands of curious onlookers.

Hayden Tomlins, 22, from Liverpool, told BBC News Online: "I have seen a few operas in the past, but never in a field. It was great, really special."

Kathie Woo, 16, from north London. "It was really cool. I wasn't really following the story, I just liked looking at the singers - they had real presence."

Pyramid stage: Muse, Morrissey, Supergrass
Other stage: Orbital, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Belle & Sebastian
Dance: Ozomatli, Future World Funk, Goldie Lookin Chain
New Tent: Television, Stellastar, Delays

Expansion doubt

At his end-of-festival press conference, Mr Eavis played down earlier reports the event was looking to expand.

On Saturday, Melvin Benn of Mean Fiddler - the company which takes operational charge of the event - said he would be asking the local council to sanction an increase in capacity of between 25,000 and 30,000.

It currently has room for 112,000 ticketholders.

But Mr Eavis said: "I don't know about that - I see Melvin's made a request for a few more. So many people want to come, you can't satisfy two-and-a-half million. Will an extra 25,000 help? It's Melvin's idea to think he can do any more. I'll have to think about that."

He added: "When I see long queues for the loos, I wonder whether we can cope with any more or not."

But he laughed: "The beauty of it is that I have the last word."

Ticket defence

He defended one aspect of the controversial ticketing system - which involved a website and telephone lines opening on a Sunday evening.

English National Opera
1900-2000, 2310-0200
Glastonbury 2004
BBC Three
1900-2100, 2200-0200
Glastonbury 2004
Radio 1
Vernon Kay, Edith Bowman
6 Music
Bob Harris, Vic McGlynn
(all times are BST)

Mr Eavis said it helped young people get tickets for the festival - after losing many because the ticket lines opened on a weekday morning in 2003.

"We lost 45,000 last year, and thankfully we've got them all back this year. It was a fantastic audience."

Mr Eavis said he felt a little let down by Oasis' Friday night performance on the Pyramid Stage - but enjoyed Sir Paul McCartney the following night.

"The two of them looked grumpy and they didn't chat to the audience at all and I was a little disappointed," he told reporters.

"I'm more of an Oasis fan than a Beatles fan, but Paul McCartney came over so much stronger, he was so good. He loved it, didn't he?"

The BBC's David Sillito
"An attempt to provide opera to a wider audience"


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